FREEDOM! THE STORY OF THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY | Kirkus Reviews


An account of the young activists who banded together to form the Black Panther Party and push for change.

This detailed, thoroughly researched account covers the Black Panther Party’s origins until the final office closed in the early 1980s. The party had its beginnings in the contentious relationship between the police and Black people in Oakland, California. However, founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were also influenced by their families’ experiences with Jim Crow, the agitation of the civil rights era, and the developing Black Power movement. Nonviolence held no appeal, but the words of Malcolm X resonated, and the 1966 establishment of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense represented a new approach. As Eldridge Cleaver, Tarika Lewis, Elendar Barnes, and others joined, the party expanded its reach and mission, seeking to improve education, health, and criminal justice systems and speaking out against the Vietnam War. Law enforcement, including the FBI, viewed its members as threats and began to actively seek to undermine the party and destroy its leadership. Debut author Martin is joined by scholars Bloom and Martin Jr., who co-authored an award-winning history of the Panthers. Their insights into personalities and relationships give an intimate look, set against the background of U.S. history, at their struggles and determination to end the oppression of their people. Many photographs from the period enhance the text.

A valuable addition to the history of African American resistance.
(Black Panther Party’s Ten-Point Program, authors’ note, timeline, glossary, photo credits, endnotes, index)
(Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-1-64614-093-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021





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